Open Access week


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Yesterday marked the beginning of Open Access Week 2015, and your intrepid Library reporter made the journey to Goldsmiths College, University of London, to hear current thinking on where we are with the thorny issue of making books Open Access, especially in the Humanities where there is maybe the greatest need, but also the greatest problems to overcome. We are now largely familiar with journal articles being made Open Access (freely available to all whether we have a subscription or not).  However, it is a very different story with monographs or books as the cost is so much higher and there are many copyright and quality control issues involved.  The session I attended had a panel of 5 pretty eminent speakers, and there was some lively disagreement as well as a fundamental understanding that we were all seeking the same goal – to share material legally and ethically and not to exploit the authors, to reach the wider community and share knowledge in a cost-effective way. It was felt that print could happily still exist side by side with free electronic material and they would complement each other – the electronic making the print more well known, and the print ensuring that online sites such as Wikipedia were accurate. I think this is a discussion which could go on for a few years yet and I await future developments with interest, especially as Southampton has now joined the Open Library of the Humanities – an academic-led, gold open-access publisher with no cost for the author, and a similar scheme – Knowledge Unlatched. You can see details of both these at  https://www.openlibhums.org/ and   http://www.knowledgeunlatched.org/

Digi

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